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The German educator Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782–1852) was among the most important educational theorists of the 19th century. Today, he is primarily known as the founder of the idea of the kindergarten. The son of a Lutheran minister, he was profoundly shaped by his early religious experience. While his religious beliefs were at first quite orthodox, he eventually embraced a highly spiritual and pantheistic view of the world in which the forces and manifestations of Nature literally revealed the truths of religion and the meaning of God. As he explained,

Nature presents the truths of religion in visible form, and confirms what we learn by meditating upon God. What we thus conceive we find existing in the material world. So it is that nature satisfies ...

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